Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sellafield Sleaze......Job at any cost!


Greenpeace is the sworn enemy of the nuclear industry.
Sellafield aerial photo
The environmental group this week unveiled 118 pages of minutes and other documents, mostly obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which it claims undermine the case for a new power station at Sellafield.
It hopes the findings might force a rethink of the NuGen consortium’s plan to start building in 2015.
The scheme will create 5,000 jobs in the construction phase and 1,000 permanent jobs once the plant opens in 2023.
In fact, many of Greenpeace’s “revelations” were already public knowledge, such as problems with the site’s geology and difficulties in accessing the National Grid.
But the documents do shed light on a behind-the-scenes campaign to promote Sellafield as suitable for nuclear new build against improbable odds.
That campaign began in January 2008, the month that the then Business Secretary John Hutton gave the green light to a new generation of nuclear power plants.
He told the Commons that the power stations, to be built by the private sector, would most likely be located at or near existing nuclear installations.
He also pledged to streamline the planning process to prevent delays from lengthy public inquiries.
Five days after his announcement, Cumbria’s movers and shakers held a ‘nuclear influencing strategy workshop’ at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.
Rosie Mathisen, director of nuclear opportunities at West Lakes Renaissance, was in the chair.
Also present were representatives from Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria County councils, Sellafield unions, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Cumbria Vision, Northwest Development Agency, Invest in Cumbria, and Carl Carter from Copeland MP Jamie Reed’s office.
They saw the Government’s announcement as a huge opportunity to bring jobs to west Cumbria.
The minutes obtained by Greenpeace say: “There has to be a sense of urgency in our work.
“This opportunity is on our watch and is certainly one of the big transformational projects we must go all out to win – despite not being favoured.”
The minutes of that first meeting spelt out some of the obstacles.
The biggest was the remoteness of Cumbria from the large urban centres where electricity is needed and the lack of a 400kv connection to the National Grid.
This would require 50m-high pylons, instead of the usual 30m pylons, possibly crossing the Lake District National Park.
There was an admission too that the geology of Sellafield was far from ideal.
The minutes say: “Bedrock is too far down in most areas but the area behind the Windscale Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactor is okay if a little costly.”
The group also identified points in Sellafield’s favour, not least a “willing and accepting” community supportive of nuclear power.
There was a suggestion – seized on by Greenpeace – that west Cumbria might agree to have an underground repository for long-term storage of nuclear waste in return for getting power stations.
The minutes say: “No consensus on how/when to play our trump card – that west Cumbria has a community willing to host a high-level repository but perhaps only if we get new build and socio-economic money that follows to benefit the community.”
Some of the more intriguing ideas floated at this meeting included asking the BBC to make a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the campaign and using a proposed bridge across Morecambe Bay to carry the high-voltage power line from Sellafield.
Two months later, a steering group was formed called ‘Building the Case for New Build at Sellafield’. It identified another problem – plutonium contamination in the sea bed off Sellafield that might interfere with plans to take water to cool any new reactors.
The minutes say: “It was confirmed that a mud bank of silt is evident, which contains plutonium.
“There is approximately one third of a tonne, which is an obvious issue.”
Minutes of subsequent meetings outline how the campaign evolved, lobbying the Department for Business and Enterprise, the utility companies and the National Grid.
There was a media push to promote Sellafield as suitable for nuclear new build, channelled through “friendly press contacts”.
The campaign received impetus in July 2008 when Mr Hutton unveiled the Energy Coast masterplan, a vision to create 16,000 jobs and make west Cumbria a world leader in energy generation.
The News & Star reported: “The announcement is the clearest hint yet that Sellafield as a site for a new nuclear power station, though no decision has yet been taken.”
A month later, the steering group minutes report that “90 per cent” of the route for the high-voltage power line had been agreed with the National Grid but it had still to persuade any of the energy companies to pick Sellafield as a preferred site.
A breakthrough came early in 2009 when the Nuclear Decommissioning agreed to “nominate” Sellafield as a suitable site for a power station.
Shortly afterwards three locations in west Cumbria – Sellafield, Braystones, and Kirksanton near Millom – were among 11 potential sites named by the Government.
Braystones and Kirksanton were later dropped but Sellafield was snapped up by NuGen, a consortium made up of Iberdrola, GDF Suez and Scottish & Southern Energy.
NuGen acquired an option to buy 500 acres of land subject to final approval.
The campaign cleared another hurdle last October when the incoming Coalition Government confirmed Sellafield as one of eight sites earmarked for new reactors.
Greenpeace argues that the minutes of these meetings show the ‘expression of interest’ from local authorities in having a long-term waste repository were a smokescreen to promote nuclear new build.
It is uncomfortable at the way the campaign to promote new build was pursued by council officials and representatives of various quangos behind closed doors.
There was little public awareness of this campaign apart from a News & Star report, in March 2008, that West Lakes Renaissance and Cumbria Vision were launching “a bid to make Sellafield the centre of the Government’s planned expansion for the nuclear industry”.
Greenpeace said this week: “The councils, and others who initiated these meetings, seem to view west Cumbria and the Lake District as their private fiefdom to be offered up for nuclear waste dumping.
“Their blind pursuit of nuclear jobswill cost jobs and income in the tourism, food and drink, and agricultural sectors dearly.
“These minutes expose the cynical machinations behind the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely stakeholder-engagement programme.
“Claims about openly discussing nuclear waste disposal are a sham based on a hidden agenda.
“The discussions on disposal should now be halted.
“The councils should not be allowed to take any further steps until there is full disclosure and examination of all the documents concerning new build and waste from all parties involved.”
But voices in west Cumbria have dismissed Greenpeace’s claims as the predictable views of an organisation implacably imposed to the nuclear industry.
Tim Knowles, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for nuclear issues, said: “Anybody reading Greenpeace’s propaganda would think they are oblivious to the fact that 70 per cent of the country’s higher-level nuclear waste is already stored at Sellafield and that Cumbria is already at the heart of Britain’s nuclear industry.
“The fact that the county and district councils are supporters of the nuclear industry is no more surprising than a London-based environmental pressure group trying to argue the county’s economy should be built solely on B&Bs, tea rooms and sheep farms.
“In the real world, local authorities in Cumbria need to work with the Government on behalf of their communities.
“There is no hidden agenda and there are no ‘trump cards’.
“If Cumbria is not the right place to have an underground repository for radioactive waste and if it’s not supported by local people then we will oppose it.
“If building one or more of the new generation of nuclear power stations and improving the county’s connections to the National Grid are not in the best interests of local communities then we will oppose them.
“But at this stage, we are at the table with Government and looking at the evidence while talking to local communities in a process which is both open and transparent.
“No decisions have been made and voluntarism is an important principle underpinning the approach to an underground repository.
“Cumbria County Council makes no apologies for working with the nuclear industry and Government in the best interests of the public.”

1 comment:

  1. this does shows what a total sham the so called strategic site assessments are... the fact that they are on sites adjcent to existing power plants is simply because local operators have campaigned behind closed doors to preserve their own fiefdoms. the selection process has NOTHING to do with suitability of the site whatsoever and more to do with who has scratched the right persons back the best.


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